The week of June 8th in Brussels, was the scenario for reinvigorating the relations between Europe and Latin America and Caribbean. A full set of political summits took place (EU-CELAC, EU-Mexico, EU-MERCOSUR) along with the Business Summit, with the objective of reviewing the current status of the relationship between the regions and identify action points to go forward.
Two declarations were adopted: a short political declaration "A partnership for the next generation"; and a second text, the "Brussels declaration" that covers the several strands of the relationship, including direct references to the ICT sector. In addition, an updated and expanded action plan between the two regions was also adopted, identifying activities that should lead to concrete results guaranteeing ownership and capacity building.
The action plan calls for tangible cooperation on a set of digital-economy issues that are fully supported by Telefonica, like the reduction of the digital divide as a way for improving competitiveness; and the exchange of experiences and best practices in areas of innovation, such as incubation, entrepreneurship, science parks and start-up enterprises, where we have plenty of accumulated knowledge thanks to Open Future, Telefónica’s entrepreneurship and innovation network.
We also support intensifying the dialogues on information society, like the already existing with Brazil. It is always positive to share knowledge about the challenges faced in the digital economy and extending these dialogues to other key markets with European presence is more than welcome. We believe that both regions can learn from each other how to better make markets work effectively on issues like spectrum allocation or handling Public-Private Partnerships. And even join forces on areas of common interest like internet governance.
Finally, regarding Trade agreements, as a tool to complete and modernize economic ties, the summit also called for the modernization of the EU agreements already in place with Mexico and Chile and for an exchange of offers with MERCOSUR. These agreements open business opportunities to companies of all sizes, provide better choice for consumers and enhance protection for investments.
It will be very interesting to follow the outcomes of all these proposals. It is important for industry players and for other actors of civil society to show their support to the initiatives and help political actors to make them happen. Telefónica is more than ready to play an active role.